Do You Hug?

Silhouette of parents and child

There is so much each day to sadden us – World (injustice, hunger, disease, war, terrorism), Church (abuse of children and women, lack of faith, public criticism of Pope Francis), Society (violent and petty crime, addictions of drugs, alcohol, gambling), Family (break-ups, quarrels), Work (insecurity, low wages, dispiriting work, unemployment) – so why are people normally pleasant and happy?

There is much goodness each day. People are willing to serve in public life, help bring peace and reconciliation, look after others in hospitals, hospices, care homes, schools, and in developing countries, bringing relief and aid through their dedication.

I marvel at the goodness of people, their willingness to listen, be there, give time and affection and love. I overhear carers in homes talking to the residents, so often with patience and kindness. A mother of three teenage daughters was calmly talking about them. “I remember what I was like at their age,” she said, “and I give them the patience and understanding I was given.” She was a lovely mother. I have seen such care in many ways at home, in families, between relatives and friends. Genuine goodness and holiness, quietly living saints, but they would never say that about themselves.

Which makes the sadness and tensions of our world, Church, society, families and workplaces the greater. If only people were encouraged simply to be, do, their best. “This baby to be loved every few hours” was the notice at the foot of the bed in hospital. The nurse laughed. “That’s Doctor Y” she said. “He knows the importance of hugs and holding from the beginning of life. So all the mothers are reminded – and the fathers, too, when they come in.”

Seriously, do you hug, hold everyone every few hours; are you held, hugged every few hours? Yes, is the answer. We call it prayer. “Dear Lord, here are my (many) loved ones. Hold them for me. Here are those (many) who love me. I hold them in my prayer.” There is room in your heart for the whole world. “There are many rooms in my Father’s house,” said Jesus. There are many rooms in your heart. Fill them.
God bless you,

Fr John

(5th May 2019)

Related Link: Fr John’s Parish Newsletters